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This is Why Customer Engagement Can Make or Break a SME Your behaviour with the customers can do wonders for your venture

By Kaushik Bhattacharya

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This is an Experience that Economy and entire Customer Engagement is revolving around that for sustained revenue growth.

But, there is a lot of dilemma among mid-sized entrepreneurs as to how to practice that successfully for better Customer Engagement and Revenue.

Let's understand - What is customer Experience in simple words -

Coffee beans are products and commodities which can be compared with other brands. Serving Coffee as a beverage is a service. But, when you offer a great incomparable moment with a coffee ( along with a pleasant surroundings etc.) that's called Customer Experience for which a customer is always willing to pay a premium. This Customer Experience gives you Loyal Customers with repeat business.

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In whichever industry you are in, the key to competitive advantage is the same - the experience you offer to your customers. Remember, you are no longer selling Product or Services but Experiences. And, the better you manage Customer Experience, listen to your customers, understand them better - you have more business from them and through their references.

Customer Experience Management as a subject was is a Practice governed by culture and Apple, Starbucks are some of the companies who are pioneers and have championed this. Apple has an 87% repeat business because of the experience they offer.

More than ever, it's now important to retain your customers as Sales cycle nowadays starts with 'Lead' and doesn't end at 'Closing' but goes up to 'Advocacy'. Gartner says a company can lose up to 43% of its revenue in a year only by losing existing customers. While Loyalty gives you repeat business Advocates bring-in more inbound leads and customers.

Many large Enterprises are holistically following Customer Experience Management for some years now through Marketing Automation and advances CX programs. But the challenge is how an SME can carry that successfully!

Here is my take on how you can do this through limited resources successfully -

Advocacy is a journey from Buyer to Believer, So...

  1. Serve first - Sell Second. Give Value continuously. Invest in Content Marketing and Videos.

  2. Invest in great experiences with a personal touch and personalized attention. Design program and evolve towards maturity

  3. Engage and Listen to customers proactively.

  4. Nielson Data says, out of 68% customers who leave thinks that you don't care for them. And, 90% of them leave silently. So, seek out complaints on your own and address emphatically.

  5. Identify Happy Customers and use them as Marketing Champions

  6. Use WOM (Word of Mouth)

After the maturity of Social Media, WoM has become a new practice area for excellence. Purpose of WoM is to get new leads through Advocates.

Let's look at some data -

  1. When it comes to trust, 92% says they trust recommendations from the source they know (Nielson)

  2. 72%, in another research, trusts direct consumer feedback.

  3. Millennials consider word of mouth as the #1 influencers in their purchasing decisions

  4. Social Media is the biggest contributor to deciding buying trends so much so that over 50% of purchases inspired by social media happen within 1 week of sharing.

  5. 43% of Social media users report buying

  6. 72% of marketers use social media to develop loyal fans

So, how do you use WoM!

  • Define Your Buyer Persona and engage to the target audience

  • Don't Let the Relationship End at the Point of Sale

  • Make Every Experience a Reason to Converse with Your Customers

  • Engage with the Local Community

  • Have a Mailing List... and Use It

  • Create an On-Location Feedback System

  • Deal with Customers at a Personal Level ....also

      • Build a rapport with followers

      • make your followers feel special

      • Engage with audiences

      • Improve communication

  • Be Social with Your Customers

  • Manage Your Online Reputation

  • Have your influencer community and influencer referral program read

  • Keep track and measure the entire value chain.

So, give great Experiences and Manage that well. Help your customer and then sell. Give value and leverage on that. Design your Customer referral program well. Turn Loyals into Advocates to give you more revenue through up-sell and cross-sell. Finally, turn Advocates giving more references.

Kaushik Bhattacharya

IT Bus­iness Strategy & Man­agement Consultant

Bhattacharya  is an IT Bus­iness Strategy & Man­agement Consultant with over 23 years gl­obal experience in Strategy definition, Roadmap Creation, Gr­owth Acceleration, Policy Execution, Peo­ple Management for emerging companies. He is a Thought Lead­er on IT Business Ma­nagement,Start-up Me­ntoring and has expe­rience in growing IT business unit from start-up as well as an off-shoot of large IT organization.

 

He is also an Evange­list in the areas of BigData, Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Digital Transformation and a Speaker, Coach & Writer on Business Growth, Sales Excelle­nce.

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